Since the unsurpassable “Electric Ladyland”, released in November 1968, Jimi had released no new studio material. The Experience had broken up in June 69 after their final U.S. tour (averaging a couple of dates a week over 11 weeks), putting an end to a good two and half years of practically solid touring! It’s not surprising that Jimi then took 10 months off the road (nothing in todays terms), to build the next stage of his work.
After the Band Of Gypsys side-project (to get out of the PPX lawsuit), Buddy Miles was let go due to his imposing personality and drumming style which didn’t gel with Jimi’s musical multiverse. Miles had began to put his weight around a little too much for those around Jimi and when he charged his family’s dental bills to the Hendrix office. That was the last straw, so out he went (it had never been planned that he’d be the permanent drummer anyway).
In February 1970, Jeffrey flew Noel to New York for a Jimi Hendrix Experience reunion interview with Rolling Stone magazine. However Jimi had made up his mind, irrespective of what Jeffrey had planned and Billy Cox remained on bass. Jimi also didn’t hesitate to bring other black musicians into the studio (Juma Sultan, Emeretta Marks, The Ghetto Fighters, The Ronettes,…). So boom goes the theory of the all-controlling manager. Jimi was in total control of the creative side of things.
After the relative calm of the previous year, with the new core rhythm section of Cox/Mitchell, Jimi was putting together his fourth studio album. In an interview (on August 28th for The Sunday Mirror) he said “After the next album, there’ll be a double album”.
Due to his massive debts (a lot of it due to the construction of Electric Lady Studios) he went back on tour in April 1970. He loved his still unfinished dream studio and continued to record there right up to late August 1970. He mentioned to the press that his next single release would be Dolly Dagger and that a new album was on the way. He told one reporter that the new album would be out in October, followed by a double album that “…will be mostly instrumental”. He also had the “Rainbow Bridge” soundtrack to deliver, for which, he had written nothing!
When the short end of summer European tour ground to a halt at Fehmarn Island in Germany (with Billy Cox suffering from a acute paranoia and flying home to his parents in the US); Jimi ended up in London, to rest before the next stage. On September 15, he phoned Cox, asking him to be ready to meet him in the studio very soon in order to finish off the next album.
Jimi passed away on the 18th.
CRY OF LOVE ♥♥♥♥½
Released March 1971 (Track/Repise)
SIDE 1: Freedom, Drifting, Ezy Ryder, Night Bird Flying, My Friend (Hendrix/Redding)
SIDE 2: Straight Ahead, Astro Man, Angel, In From The Storm, Belly Button Window
Jimi tragically passed away on September 18, 1970. With him gone, Eddie Kramer and Mitch Mitchell set about the painful task of collecting together the most finished tracks.
In his autobiography, Mitch says that they didn’t have all the left-over tapes at their disposition (Warner Brothers were sitting on some of them), so they had to make-do with what they had. Mitch: “(Cry Of Love) was a real jigsaw puzzle to put together. You’d find, say, a lead guitar part in one key and then a vocal and rhythm track for the same song in a different key.” So Mitch finished off one or two drum tracks, Buzzy Linhart (an old aquaintance of Jimi’s from his early years) was brought in to add vibraphone (which Jimi had considered) to Drifting, etc. Mitch: “If something worked, I left it, like Buddy Miles’ drum part on Ezy Ryder. It could have been dropped and replaced with one by me – but it was fine so I left it.” Talking about Angel, Mitch said: “Angel was the most difficult and jigsaw-like track to put together and yet it became the most coveted of Jimi’s songs”.
Thus, 12 tracks were mastered but only 10 were put out on this album (the other two Dolly Dagger and Room Full Of Mirrors came out on the following release).
Cry Of Love was a nicely balanced album, with a more direct R&B feel, and showed quite a departure from Jimi’s three precedent works of the heady days of 1967/68 – although the Dylanesque bar room blues My Friend, co-written with Noel, in fact dates from The Experience period). The inclusion of My Friend has been critised by many Hendrix fans because it came from a much earlier session. However in the “West Coast Seattle boy” booklet, it says “…When he (Jimi) and Eddie Kramer gathered in late May and early June 1970 to review Jimi’s tape library for songs that would be mixed or overhauled at the guitarist’s newly opened Electric Lady Studios, Hendrix played the March 1968 Sound Center recording for Kramer. Months later, in the aftermath of Jimi’s death, in September 1970, Kramer and Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell were entrusted with preparing “Cry Of Love”,… Kramer remembered Hendrix’s enthusiasm for the song and included it as part of the album.”
In this last phase of his musical evolution, Jimi really had turned the page here as far as more “psychedelic” rock was concerned. Fans who had discovered some of these songs during the 1970 tours finally heard what Jimi was on about. The rough-hewn live versions didn’t really hint at the rich multilayered arrangements revealed on the tracks assembled here. Multi guitar tracks, backing vocals and percussion all lock together creating tight structures that would only have been possible to fully reproduce on stage with a greater number of musicians than just a three piece. It had been Jimi’s intention to eventually expand the group for live work anyway.
The textures evoked on the Band Of Gypsys live album were echoed with the soul tinged Freedom featuring The Ghetto Fighters on backing vocals, and it is The Band Of Gypsys themselves on the hard rocking Ezy Ryder which also features Traffic members Steve Winwood and Chris Wood (both had played on Electric Ladyland). Other guests are Emerretta Marks on backing vocals for In From The Storm, Steve Stills on piano for “My Friend” and Jimi’s old friend Paul Caruso on harmonica (the sleeve says “Gers” but it has recently been attributed to Caruso).
The moving Angel (about a dream he’d had of his Mother) was a song that Jimi had been toying with for a couple of years before finally recording this definitive version. Belly Button Window is a haunting solo blues about reincarnation, which was a poignant epitaph, coming as it did just after Jimi’s death.
Some of the many working titles for Jimi’s fourth album were Freedom, Both Ways, People, Hell and Angels*, Straight Ahead, Shine On, Gypsy Sun or First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (a title later used on a compilation featuring all the tracks here). Jimi’s last tour (on which he had played many of these songs) was called The Cry Of Love – hence the name of this album. In an interview just before the 1970 Isle Of Wight festival, he said that the new album might be out in October, followed by a double album which would be mainly instrumental!
Only five of the songs here (Freedom, , Ezy Ryder, Night Bird Flying, Astro Man, Belly Button Window) were final mixes approved by Hendrix. Kramer and Mitchell finished off Jimi’s mixes for the other tracks. Here is a run-down of the last mixes that Jimi did with Eddie Kramer and those which were done soon after he died > The fourth album mixes.
* The title People Hell And Angels was used for a 2012 album of previously unreleased studio recordings.
A respectful illustration by Nancy Reiner (who was Mike Jeffrey’s girlfriend). Jimi is like a memory etched into the heavens. – 10/10
The inner sleeve featured a few photos taken at Maui, Hawaii to promote the film “Rainbow Bridge” which was released shortly after this album and the back cover had the lyrics to “Straight Ahead” over a sunset. The End. – see “Alternate Sleeves Part 5”
All tracks reissued in the 90s on: “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun”.
Cry Of Love was re-released on Sony in 2014
In his last months, Jimi had another project on the boiler with the working title of “Black Gold” and a couple of tracks here (“Drifting” and “Astro Man”) were pencilled in by Jimi as part of it. Here’s more about “Black Gold”.
RAINBOW BRIDGE (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) ♥♥♥♥½
Released November 1971 (Reprise)
SIDE 1: Dolly Dagger, Earth Blues, Pali Gap, Room Full Of Mirrors, Star Spangled Banner (Traditional)
SIDE 2:Look Over Yonder, Hear My Train A Comin’ (live at Berkeley 1970), Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
These superb recordings were thrown together as a “soundtrack” album for an incoherent mess of a film by ex-Andy Warhol understudy Chuck Wein. Jimi’s manager Mike Jeffrey had got money from Warner Brothers to finance the film on the basis that Jimi would provide the score. Jimi was of course in the process of building his fourth studio album, so one can speculate as to what he would have reserved or created for the movie soundtrack. Much filming of hippies, landscapes, surfing and drug taking was done on the Hawaiian island of Maui and Jeffrey persuaded Jimi to play an outdoor gig for good measure. The film crew messed the filming up and technical problems rendered the sound recordings unusable for an industry release. Then Jimi died before he could finish his fourth album, let alone the movie soundtrack.
So the Hendrix management and Eddie Kramer looked at what studio recordings they could set aside for the movie and came up with this superb album.
In the film, Jimi, Mitch, and Billy Cox appear for a fascinating 15 minutes or so at the end, playing live at Maui, Hawaii (30/07/70).
The recordings of the gig at Maui were unfortunately hampered by technical problems and high winds, so as a compensation, the only live track on the album is a truly magnificent “Hear My Train a Comin” taken from the first show at Berkely Community Centre, California on the 30/05/70 (the track was later re-released on the “Jimi Hendrix: Blues” album).
The other tracks on the album were pieced together by Kramer from more of the material that Jimi had left unfinished, plus a couple of Experience epoch numbers (the brilliant rocker “Look Over Yonder” and a complex studio rendering of “The Star Spangled Banner”, which although finely arranged, lacks the essential violence and brutal sarcasm of the live versions). When Jimi worked on it in 1968, it only got as far as a demo. Kramer came back to it and mixed for this album.
The music throughout is fantastic and Kramer did a remarkable job in constructing this album, considering it required “a lot of cutting and pasting” (as he said in a 1985 “Guitar World” interview). On the beautiful ballad “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)” for example, one can hear Jimi say “Is the microphone on?” before he sings. This doesn’t take the shine off the brilliance of the song.*
The Santana-like instrumental “Pali Gap”, which developed out of a spontaneous studio jam, is one of Jimi’s most beautiful guitar pieces. Like on “The Cry Of Love”, Jimi’s use of soulful backing vocals is evident on the superbly funky “Dolly Dagger” (with The Ghetto Fighters) and on “Earth Blues” (with Buddy Miles and the legendary girl group The Ronnettes !). The fantastic “Room Full Of Mirrors” (which Jimi had been toying with for a couple of years) features the Band Of Gypsys line up. Jimi’s Woodstock percussionist Juma Edwards provides percussion on “Pali Gap” and “Hey Baby”.
Some tracks from this album were used on the film soundtrack but sound like rougher mixes.
*It’s interesting to note that Jimi mentioned (in a September 1970 interview with Keith Altman) that he was working on a “Bolero type of thing” and evoked lts lyrics which were evidently from “Hey Baby”. An outtake of that “Bolero” (recorded the same day as “Hey Baby”!) was later discovered and it eventually circulated on collectors discs and bootlegs. It’s rather sketchy but one can imagine how it might have segued into the slow intro of the “Hey Baby” here. In 2010, the box set “West Coast Seattle Boy” included “Bolero” flowing directly into an alternate mix of “Hey Baby”.
Rainbow Bridge was re-released on Sony Legacy in 2014 and previously:
Dolly Dagger, Earth Blues, Room Full Of Mirrors, Hey Baby – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
Pali Gap, Look Over Yonder – South Saturn Delta
Hear My Train A Comin’ – :Blues, Voodoo Child compilations
Star Spangled Banner – purple box set (it also re-appeared in 1990 on the Alan Douglas compilation “Cornerstones).
Similar idea to the previous album here, with Jimi again melting into the sky. The combined stills are from the gig at Maui with Jimi sporting his very cool silver studded jacket. The swish 70s lettering added a certain richness. – 8/10
The inner featured more photos from Maui plus an excerpt of Jimi’s whaky conversation with Chuck Wein and Pat Hartley that was in the film. On the back were the lyrics to “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)”, over an “OM” symbol, as the “Theme from Rainbow Bridge”.
Live In Maui
In 2020, the Maui live recordings and all surviving footage was released by Experience Hendrix as a box set titled Live In Maui – See Posthumous Live Albums 20s
WAR HEROES ♥♥♥½
Released September 1972 (Polydor)
SIDE 1: Bleeding Heart, Highway Chile, Tax Free (Hanssen/Karlsson), Peter Gunne (Mancini)/Catastrophe (Arr. Hendrix), Stepping Stone
SIDE 2: Midnight, 3 Little Bears, Beginning (Mitchell), Izabella
The third release of studio material after Jimi’s death. Eddie Kramer confessed later (again in that “Guitar World” interview) that at this stage they were “really scraping the bottom of the barrel”. That might be true about a couple of tracks, but most of the material assembled here is of excellent quality, the proof being that several tracks were later included on the slick “First Rays” CD compilation, right up there alongside the polished ex “Cry Of Love” numbers.
“Izabella” features the Band of Gypsys and it’s a differnent mix* to the one that had been released as a single in the USA in 1970 (see Original Singles section).
“Stepping Stone” on the other hand features a Mitch Mitchell drum overdub and the instrumental “Beginning” (which had already appeared in a live version on “Woodstock Two” as “Jam Back At The House”) is attributed to Mitch as composer.
There were also two superb instrumentals by The Experience presented here: the powerful “Midnight”, and Jimi’s cover of a jazz composition by two Swedish musicians by the name of Bo Hanssen and Janne Karlssen called “Tax Free” (which the band had often played on their 1968/69 tours).
Jimi had played Elmore James “Bleeding Heart” on stage occasionally but here, he uses the song’s lyrics for a funky rock track (which he eventually restructured as it became“Come Down Hard On Me Baby”). “3 Little Bears” is an amusing little sketch of a song from the Electric Ladyland sessions, and “Peter Gunne/Catastrophe” in fact really does qualify as “scraping the barrel”, it’s just a brief moment of Jimi and the band jamming loosely in the studio. As the band’s adaptation of “Peter Gunne” (popularized by guitarist Duane Eddy) grinds to a halt, Jimi jokingly improvises on Frankie Laine’s “Jelousy” reworking it as “Catastrophe”. The mono “Highway Chile” (the original B-Side of “The Wind Cries Mary”) was included here as it had not figured on an American release before and perhaps because Jimi had written a memo to recuperate the master tapes while he was finishing his 1970 album (surely he can’t have been thinking of putting it on ?).
Beginning , Stepping Stone, Izabella – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
Bleeding Heart, Tax Free, Midnight – South Saturn Delta
Highway Chile – Are You Experienced
3 Little Bears** – Merry Xmas And A Happy New Year
Peter Gunne/Catastrophe – West Coast Seattle Boy
* Many (slightly) different mixes of “Izabella” and “Steppin’ Stone” have appeared over the decades.
Check out the great research here:
** “Three Little Bears” cropped up later on far too many bootlegs in an overlong extended version. It goes on into an ambling jam which has nothing to do with the first part presented here.
God knows where the title for this album came from. Something to do with the “Izabella” lyrics perhaps. To match it, the close up portrait of Jimi looks like a tomestone engraving. Morbid stuff. – 5/10
LOOSE ENDS ♥♥
Released February 1974 (Polydor)
SIDE 1: Come Down Hard on Me Baby, Blue Suede Shoes (Perkins), Jam 292 (edited version), The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice (remix), Drifter’s Escape (Dylan)
SIDE 2: Burning Desire, l’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man (Dixon), Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
Evidently, at this stage, little else had been found in the vaults and this weak selection of studio demos and jams was offered. Even Eddie Kramer declined to participate in this sad effort. “Come Down Hard On Me Baby” is a rough hewn evolution of “Bleeding Heart”. “Blue Suede Shoes” is just a bit of grass smoking studio fun where Jimi tries to explain a drum pattern to Buddy Miles, then he does a brief impersonation of Elvis Presley, before the band have a go at the Carl Perkins song, which quickly fades out! The blues instrumental workout “Jam 292” is the best track, featuring some stunning guitar work. It turned up in 2004 in complete form on the Dagger Records release “Hear My Music” (another take titled “Jelly 292” appeared on the “Jimi Hendrix :Blues” album). “The Stars That Play…” is an interesting remix of the old “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” B-side, with the devastating guitar solo high in the mix. That track was re-released in the nineties on “South Saturn Delta”, as was Jimi’s cover of Dylan’s “Drifters Escape” (although in a slightly more finished form). The rest is taken up by a rather tedious studio jam by the Band Of Gypsys (featured later on “The Baggys Rehearsal Sessions”), and the last track is a brief but touching instrumental of the “Electric Ladyland” title theme (later seen on the MCA 2000 box set).
This album was so weak that Warner Brothers (who handled Reprise) refused to release it in the States.
Come Down Hard On Me Baby (alternate), Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland) – purple box set
The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice , Drifter’s Escape (alternate version) – South Saturn Delta
Jam 292 (complete) – Hear My Music” (Dagger)
Burning Desire, l’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man – Baggys Rehearsals” (Dagger)
“Blue Suede Shoes” (complete jam, perhaps titled “Blue Suede Blues” by Jimi) and this mix of “Drifters Escape” turned up later on the unofficial and now deleted “Truth & Emotion” (Purple Haze Records)
A more modern page layout this time, but the brown background and sad photos, where Jimi seems to be passing out, were just awful . Thus continued the seventies tendancy to use funerary graphics. A generation in mourning. – 1/10
CRASH LANDING ⊗
Released September 1975 (UK-Polydor, US-Reprise)
SIDE 1: Message to Love, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Crash Landing, Come Down Hard on Me
SIDE 2: Peace in Mississippi, With the Power (Power Of Soul), Stone Free Again, Captain Coconut
At this point in time (after the death of Hendrix estate business manager Michael Jeffrey in an air crash), the left over tapes were put in the hands of producer Alan Douglas (who had in fact at one time worked a little with Hendrix, introducing him to various jazz musicians). Douglas was conscious that what was left in the vaults (apart from the live recordings) was essentially rough demos and exploratory jam sessions. As even the 90s release “South Saturn Delta” and the 2000 box set have since shown, very little remained which met the standards of the first three posthumous studio releases.
Back in 1975, when under pressure from Warner Brothers, who demanded a neat marketable album after the disappointing “Loose Ends”, Douglas (in desperation?) brought in session musicians to play polished backing tracks behind Jimi’s rough demos, wiping off the original rhythm sections *¹, and even adding extra guitar. Douglas claimed at the time that the original rhythm sections were out of tempo, out of tune or made “errors” which needed correcting if he was to deliver the “polished” album that Warner were demanding. *² The results are quite unsettling. It’s a bit like touching up Picasso sketches and then passing them off as finished paintings. To make things worse, this album sold very well! At least “Loose Ends” had made no pretensions about being other than just that.
A couple of tracks were interesting as they only had percussion added, namely “Message To Love” and “Power Of Soul” (although the latter was chopped up and rearranged by Douglas). Many recordings, minus Douglas’ overdubbing, would come out on later releases. The messy title track was built around a rough demo which eventually became “Freedom”. The track “Captain Coconut” came from three unrelated instrumental demos which had been assembled as an experiment by Eddie Kramer’s assistant John Jansen in 1972. Kramer soon put a stop to it. Alan Douglas later came across it, glossed it up, and stuck it on this album !
The musicians recruited for the overdubbing were Jeff Mironov (guitar), Bob Babbit (bass), Alan Schwartzberg (drums), Jimmy Maeulen (percussion) and backing vocals from Linda November, Vivian Cherry and Barbarra Massey.
*(1) Some of Mitch’s drumming is in fact in the final mix with a session drummer’s retouching over the top.
*(2) As fellow Hendrix fan François has pointed out (on the excellent Forum Jimi Hendrix.” – see links), a listen to the raw tapes doesn’t really substantiate Douglas’ claims. The outtakes, though not highly finished are well performed. The whole exercise was perhaps also a clever ploy to attain royalties as “Producer” of Hendrix recordings !
Tracks here were even attributed to Hendrix/Douglas! Quite shocking but perhaps relevant as these versions were constructed by Douglas and certainly not the works of Jimi Hendrix. Douglas had this to say about it later:
“I took composing credits because that was a business situation – Jimi’s publishing was owned by Mike Jeffery – Jimi thought he owned it but he didn’t. Jeffery had made a deal with an attorney in New York, and in my opinion they were basically ripping Jimi off. Now both Jimi and Mike Jeffery were dead, so I was asked if I could put my name down as a writer, so we wouldn’t lose the publishing to this attorney in New York. If I was thinking straight at the time I would not have done it, knowing what kind of repercussions I’d get. And so I did it, I got the repercussions, and I never did it again. I was trying to do someone a business favour, and if it’s any consolation I never got paid, I got zero royalties. Everybody was screaming at me, and I have to say that they’re right, they’re justified …”
The original recordings released afterwards:
“Message To Love” – on Voodoo Soup then remixed on the purple box set and unedited on West Coast Seattle Boy box
“Somewhere” – purple box set + on People, Hell & Angels as a new composite of seperate takes.
“Crash Landing” – People, Hell & Angels (composite)
“Come Down Hard On Me Baby” – purple box (a rougher take had already appeared on Loose Ends)
“Peace in Mississippi” – Voodoo Soup and a new (and better) mix appeared on a CD single with “Valleys Of Neptune” and then in the 2013 updated purple box.
“With The Power”/”Power Of Soul” – South Saturn Delta (Kramer 1997 mix), “Somewhere” 7″ vinyl B-side (Hendrix/Bob Hughes mix), Both Sides Of The Sky (original Hendrix/Kramer mix).
“Stone Free Again”/”Stone Free” – purple box (Experience’s original second recording) , Valleys Of Neptune (further version with Cox on bass)
“Captain Coconut”– original parts of this collage (by John Jansen) on Voodoo Soup as “New Rising Sun and on Burning Desire as “MLK”. “New Rising Sun” re-surfaced in 2010 in a slightly longer form on West Coast Seattle Boy box set.
Still treating Jimi as a sepia memory, this is a very nice image of Jimi at Woodstock but the odd mixture of typefaces and that twee little bird making its own “crash landing” is all a bit too much (just like the contents) – 3/10
MIDNIGHT LIGHTNING ⊗
Released December 1975 (UK-Polydor, US-Reprise)
SIDE 1: Trash Man, Midnight Lightning, Hear My Train, Gypsy Boy
SIDE 2: Blue Suede Shoes (Perkins), Machine Gun, Once I Had a Woman, Beginnings
Another set of ghastly overdubs by Alan Douglas, and even worse than the previous effort. Like with “Crash landing”, it was frustrating to hear that behind all the polished overdubbing, there were some interesting demos in there (“Midnight Lightning”, “Hear My Train”, “Machine Gun”, “Once I Had A Woman”).
“Trashman” was built on a loose Experience jam which begins as “Midnight” (see War Heroes). Mitch and Noel were edited out here! The track “Gypsy Boy” is an early approach at “Hey Baby” with some terrible overdubbed backing vocals. Like with the “Come Down Hard On Me” on “Crash Landing”, “Blue Suede Shoes” is a glossed up demo previously seen in a raw form on “Loose Ends”. “Machine Gun” and “Beginnings” (with an “s” his time for some reason) were sourced from rough hewn versions recorded during Gypsy Sun & Rainbows jams in August 1969 and tarted up by Douglas and his session men (an edited version of “Beginnings” was given away in Guitar Player magazine as a free floppy vinyl).
All in all, a useless album.
> The ruined version of “Hear My Train A Comin” here, is not to be confused with the montage that Douglas later prepared for the “Blues” compilation (but didn’t include).
The original recordings released afterwards:
“Trashman” – Hear My Music
“Hear My Train A Comin” – Valleys Of Neptune
“Gypsy Boy” – People, Hell & Angels
“Blue Suede Shoes” – bootlegs such as Truth & Emotion (Purple Haze Records)
“Machine Gun” – some studio outtakes on bootlegs I think correspond to this version
“Once I Had a Woman” – :Blues
“Beginning” – the best version of this is on First Rays (previously on War Heroes with better sound)
A fine illustration (in typical 70s style by Jerry Pinkney) from a photo of Jimi performing his second set at Berkeley in 1970. The typography followed exactly the same code as “Crash Landing” – 7/10
So the 70s ended on a rather depressing note. At the time we asked, is that it ?
However, some interesting studio recordings were on their way for the next decade.
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